Tag Archives: Conflict

Change under crisis or constraint is compelling; but it is costly n chaotic!

abc“Change” is the most celebrated term in corporate life, leadership circles, professional and personal lives and even in country governance across the globe. Most people take pride in speaking for change, but fall short is imbibing and implementing it. Many talk about it but don’t know what to do with it.

An aspirant gets a new job of his choice and hence he loves it and puts in hard work. Years pass by and his conviction gets consolidated that he would never like to leave such a job. His management starts to perceive him as a liability; but he believes in his loyalty and one fateful day, he faces termination.

You develop a taste for sugar coated donuts and get hooked to eating couple of them every morning. You believe you are young with no family history of blood sugar problem; so, why not enjoy it. In time to come, you discover alarmingly high level of blood sugar and then you start spending time and money on medical experts and medicines; at the same time, you find it painful to miss taste of donuts.

Look at the iconic companies like General Motors, Ford, Siemens, BlackBerry and many more. These organizations did not change in or with time and hence faced blow to their businesses or serious crisis, resulting into painful restructuring, sell offs or even closure of several of their units.

Rise of right wing voices or parties in USA, Europe and Brexit are clear indications of ruling parties giving a cold shoulder to changing their policies in time and now their people are forcing them to change albeit in wrong direction.

Is it not a clear indication that waiting for crisis to come and then change is very costly and complex? Very often, changing under constraints may not be a blessing but a bane.

Why “Change” receives more of lip service than living examples

It has become a fashion to talk about change; but hardly anyone is willing to walk for a change. Celebrities proudly pronounce “Change is the only constant in Universe”, not knowing what exactly it means. Change is a continuum; not a constant. Universe actually has no constant.

Then, we are ever ready to pass our sermons how and why others should change, forgetting that if we want to change others, that change has to first originate from us. A step ahead, people talk about grand changes in systems at company, community or country level; but most prefer to be spectators and fight shy of becoming part of system. Unless you become part of change, bringing change is only a pipe dream.

In more than 90% of cases, it is a decorative word in speeches and essays, until crisis descends.

Biggest confusion is “Why and what change”

Homilies aside, herds hardly understand correct definition of change!

Nothing is static around us. We and our environments are continuously changing. So, change is nothing but adjusting to changes happening internally and externally to us with time, so that we can accomplish our short and long term goals in least time and resistance.

So first of all, to talk of change without your goals in mind is foolhardy. Then comes, identifying what incremental changes have happened in and around you, followed by planned steps to effect the change.

Crisis comes out, when accumulated changes crash the system

By and large, people like to be inert to changes, because of inertia that they develop from their comfort zones.

Changes not made but accumulated over time burst out in form of crisis or even conflicts. You or people at large than have no choice or time but brace or face changes thrust upon you. You like it or not, such forced changes are bound to be painful; some of these may be right but a lot would not be. You would react against such forced changes; but would have no recourse left and hence, these become chaotic.

Changing by choice is indeed chaste

Very fact that change is continuum tells us that we must live side by side of changes that are arising and align with them in time. This alone can make us very efficient, ebullient and agile.

Changing by choice makes the Change a pleasure and not pain; it can be a nice asset but never liability.

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Monumental Mistake many make by not quitting at correct time!

Humans are infested by inertia and love to do what they have been doing. One fine day, they start facing issues, crises, stagnancy and decay. Often, the cause their troubles is that they had stuck around the place way too long and ignored the signals their surroundings were giving to quit and seek change! It is true that majority misses the boat for bolstering their career and craving for a crest!

One caveat for quitting – do that only when you have another appropriate alternative in hand.

Judging right time to quit

By quitting, I not only mean current employment; but also present position in your profession or pursuits. You should quit, when:

  1. You don’t feel happy with what you are doing, despite your sincere efforts and you don’t see a chance of a change.
  2. Despite 3 nos. of candid conversations over a period of time, there is no comfort level between you and your boss, even though top management had intervened. Remember the rule 1-2-3 & Go; it applies to everyone every time!
  3. Despite being well meaning, you are often mired or pulled into conflicts or controversies over a year.
  4. Your company is not changing and growing, and hence your management is able to offer you only stability and promotion; but not growth in real terms.
  5. Your senior managers and management are not interested in addressing your genuine concerns and issues. Be sure about genuineness of your concerns!
  6. You are excelling and reaching climax. It the best time to quit!
  7. When you start to enjoy comfort of your job and don’t want it to be compromised.
  8. When your management makes promises and fails to deliver at least 3 times.
  9. When your management does not hold moral and ethical grounds.

Hype and Hypocrisy on Employee Retention

Ludicrous is the style of that management and its HR, whose focus is to retain employees by hook or hammer; rather than encouraging and stimulating employees to see and shape their future with the company!

Most management reward for retention, create comfort zones for employees and show love for loyalty more than performance! Seldom they realize that by creating comfort zones, they are killing creativity and initiatives in employees.

Real leaders and managers are those, who tirelessly create opportunities, develop and grow their employees and if they can’t, then would graciously come forward to offer deserving ones a choice to relocate to another company or give honorable exit.

What we need are Constraint Zones, not Comfort Zones

Do not mistake Constraint by controlled and freedom limiting zones. Constraint zone aims at encouraging employees to give more for less – again don’t confuse less means less salary; it means less time, less energy, better efficiency, innovative ways to accomplish more and so on.

Banes of Comfort Zones

  • Inactiveness and inefficiency
  • No drive to learn and change
  • Hatching covers for comforts
  • Taking things for granted
  • Taking time to manipulate and justify inactions

Only blessing that comfort zones offer is stability, uneventful and peaceful time, before degeneration takes control.

Blessings of Constraint Zones

  • Auto drive for value system
  • Self-motivation to learn and change; employees don’t do it otherwise
  • Promotes productivity, creativity and value creation
  • Realization for value of time, energy and cost/money
  • Gunning for greater growth

How quitting at correct time can unleash new order and opulence

Normally, people do not understand how sometimes a single decision can have amazing power to become game changer in your life. The game of quitting under duress or distress is radically different than to quit by design, which can leave irrevocable imprints on your career and character!

  • When you quit plan fully, it makes you confident and courageous decision maker – very rare qualities to progress and excel.
  • State of your mind when you quit and quest for Change would shape your future successes.
  • It can open flood gates of opportunities.
  • It empowers you to shape your destiny.
  • Its best impact is to inspire you to drive events, rather than those driving you!
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Why Common man to Companies go into Cycles of Success & Failure, Rise & Fall…!

One of the most common phenomena, which common man to companies and countries all over the world encounter is cycles of success and failure, rise and fall, economic upturn and downturn, high and low in growth/business/personal life or even moods, good and bad, comfort and discomfort. Duration and intensity of such cycles may vary; but nobody seems to be free from facing these.

Are these cycles inevitable? Can we manage to prolong good part of cycles and postpone and shorten bad part? Fact of our life is that no one wants to go through bad patch or part.

Why we swing in opposite cycles

There are essentially 3 rules, which demand things to drive in opposing directions:

  1. Law of pairing of opposite properties
    Every human quality, characteristic, feeling or thought has 2 opposite properties or polarities (+ and -) and relevance of one is because of its opposite!
    For example, significance of good behavior is because of bad one; pleasure loses its meaning without pain; win has relevance only because of defeat or loss and vice versa.
  2. Law of attraction of identical properties and repulsion of opposite
    Unlike micro or particle level, at macro or human level, positive or good would attract positive or good qualities or thoughts. Likewise, negative thoughts or event would attract similar thoughts or events.
    Nothing actually remains in steady state or equilibrium; every parameter is constantly undergoing a change. This is analogous to 2nd law of thermodynamics, which states that heat energy or entropy of a system is continuously increasing and nothing can remain in equilibrium.
  3. Law of Conflict (or Collision) of Thoughts and Action (CoT & CoA)
    Whenever there is conflict of thoughts or interest with self or others, it would give rise to negative character. Same applies to actions through voice or body! This is analogous to Newton’s 3rd law of motion i.e. for every action, there is equal and opposite reaction.

The 3 rules create a range for each quality, whose 2 extreme ends are negative!

Are you surprised by above caption? It is absolutely true! Let me give 2 real life examples:

  • A new employee A in an organization is shy and shaky. He (no gender bias) would soon discover that such qualities are barrier to his growth. He would also observe that other employees, who are doing well, are generally confident and communicative. This would give him realization that positive parts of these qualities i.e. being confident and extrovert are essential. Possibly, he would evolve and learn positive parts of these qualities. If not, there would be potential conflict with expectations of his supervisor or management. So, he would be under compulsion to bring a change or bring himself down.
    Once employee A is confident and extrovert, he would attract similar thoughts to make himself more and more confident (rule 2). This trend could make him arrogant, when he would invite conflicting situations with colleagues or customers or company (rule 3)! This would lead him to setback or failure.
    In short, he goes through –ive to +ive to –ive cycles!
  • A supervisor B is laid back and docile; but feels very hurt when he hears adverse comments from his peers and see them rising. He swears to change or get mentored to become dynamic. He does accomplish that. Now, whenever he encounters those peers, he feels repulsive and become aggressive. As a result, his management again starts to rate him as poorly as before he became dynamic!

It also applies to Companies or Countries, as these are headed by individuals. If successes get into heads these Heads, they would lose heart (for people); whereas their failures would invariably get into their heart, whereby they would lose their heads and job too, triggering a change!

It is very important to understand that we tend to define a number of qualities as stand-alone; but factually, many of these are +ive or –ive version of same quality. To cite some examples:

  1. Shaky, confident and arrogant are not three different qualities; 1st and last are –ive versions of confidence. One could also term these as under and over confident. These 3 form a range:
    Shaky –> Confident –> Arrogant
  2. Likewise, Docile –> Dynamic –> Aggressive
  3. Reserved –> Communicative –> Over-communicative
  4. Weak or Frail –> Firm –> Ferocious or Fierce
  5. Passive (or detached) –> Passion –> Possessive (or fanatic)

From above, it is clear each human quality or character has a range, say 0 to 100%, where:

0 and 100% represent extreme ends of negative quality or character.

0 to 30% is approx. range, over which degree of negativity goes down incrementally.

30 to 70% is approx. band width; over which positive part incrementally move up.

70 to 100% is range, when negative part again reigns in increasing order and becomes most damaging.

It is invariably CoT or CoA as per rule 3, which is the cause behind 0 to 30% and 70 to 100% range of negativity!

Famous opposite cycles

  1. Acceleration of growth would eventually bring deceleration.
  2. Lots of learning leans towards liability.
  3. Perfection would rob you off flexibility.
  4. When your popularity rises, your vulnerability rises as well.
  5. Excellence would attract adversity.
  6. What goes up has to come down.
  7. When you come too close to someone, it either develops cracks or craze.

Our un-mindful drive to perform puts us into perils of opposite cycles

Our pursuit to continuously grow, do better without break, improvise our qualities incessantly or chase wins ceaselessly is bound to bring us onto dividing line between right and wrong, positive and negative.

The only solution is conscious passion and pursuits!

Our prejudices push us from positive to negative

Most of us are not able to help prevent prejudices, biases, ego and emotions to shadow our mind and we pay heavy price without realizing reasons underneath!

We perceive that we are in the positive range of our qualities – true; but when we get reminded of our prejudices, we would switch from positive to negative range. No doubt, we would revert back to positive range later; however, we have started the ball rolling for swinging in opposite cycles. Next incidence of ego getting evoked would again do similar damage.

How to prolong positive part of cycles and postpone/shrink negative!

  • We have been given jargon – “Sky is the limit for growth and goodness”! Junk it, as it is intellectual bankruptcy!
    Most important is to realize earthly realities.
  • Be mindful of your passion or pursuits; left and right hand sides of middle (which is positive) range, is invariably negative!
    Strive to remain in middle range – 30 to 70% of the scale.
  • Most eminent sign or signal that we have come to edges of middle range is “Conflict of Thoughts (CoT) or Actions (CoA) emerging with self or others”. Avoid these as far as possible.
    When we do this, we would automatically start dropping prejudices or other vices!
  • It would, then, enlighten and enrich our lives!!
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Your Barriers mainly come from your Notions, Perceptions and Traits

In Corporate and elsewhere, we always talk of barriers and the need to overcome these. But unfortunately, in none of the debates, discussions or development programs it is brought out what makes barriers to surface and how to manage those. The main source for barriers is your own Notions, Perceptions and Traits (NPT). Are you surprised?

It is a simple nature’s law that “What Helps could also Hurt”.

Understanding NPT

Notion, Perception and Trait belong to same family of human characteristics, which is responsible to build up our understanding or belief and helps us to respond /act. If we were to put these on a scale, then notion would be on the left end and can undergo change easily and trait would be right end, which is hard to change like our habits. Perception resides in the middle and plays the most significant role in our behavior and responses.

How N-P-Ts are born or built?

There is general agreement among experts in field of psychology, psychiatry, philosophy etc. that notions and perceptions are created and built by situational comprehensions. But, the traits are fixed from birth and genes; this may be only partially true. Following factors and situations play strong role in giving birth or building human NPT:

  1. Comprehension from routine observations, communications and discussions – reading, hearing, viewing and all such activities, which activate our sensory responses.
  2. Influence from whom you feel the awe – your role model, mentor, leader, boss, one you respect most or are obsessed with. Mind it, opposite is also true – you also get impacted by whom you indeed hate or feel repulsive!
  3. Factors, you believe have given you success, ecstasy, fun or failure.
  4. Crisis, conflicts or controversies at any stage of your life or time play a critical role to build your NPT.
  5. Childhood memories, in particular, provide strong dosage to build NPT!

An individual would have several notions, perceptions and traits, some of which may be right or others wrong, may be in synchronization with realities or against. Right N/P/T would give right results. The ones, which are wrong and out of sync with realities, create barriers.

All of above sources are essentially observations, which always translate into your memories (including images). These then branch out into your notions, perceptions and traits, apart from knowledge, information, emotions etc. We can draw strong analogy of NPT with how a computer memory works:

Main memory – RAM <—> Cognitive part of human memory, channeling info between senses and memory stored in brain

Hard disc memory <—> Knowledge and information storage in brain

Cache memory <—> Emotions (happiness, pleasure, anger frustration, ego..)

Read-only memory – ROM <—> Genetic info, which partly contributes to traits and habits

You can, now, comprehend that:

  • Notions are your “repetitive and reinforced” knowledge/info and stored like on Hard Disc in brain. Hence, these can be over written or changed with new observations; but do need efforts!
  • Perceptions are actually combination of your “notions, emotions and traits”. The emotions part of perceptions is stored like Cache memory and notions as above. To some extent, perceptions are influenced by traits, which are stored as mentioned below.
    It is because of “emotions + trait” part, which makes it harder for you to change your perceptions as compared to notions.
  • Traits are combination of “some part of genetic info and emotions”. The genetic part of info is stored like ROM and emotions like Cache memory.
    This is the most difficult combination to change; but not impossible.

Revisit and rediscover some of very common NPTs


  1. Employee friendly approach would only raise their expectations to unmanageable level.
    But, someone shows you can be friendly, which motivates them; yet manage their expectations at reasonable level.
  2. Working long and hard is dedication and sincerity to company.
    However, a true leader says this is bunk! It is all about working smart, efficient and with ownership!
  3. People get influenced and impacted by forceful expressions and plentiful explanations.
    But, people are actually swayed by short and simple sentences, and savvy manners.
  4. Keep a distance from difficult bosses or colleagues.
    When you get in more difficulties, you realize that you can only manage by narrowing distances.
  5. You can’t change others!
    Next day, you hear your leader or celebrity saying “Change is the only constant in Universe” and decide to drive a change. What would you change, if you have already erected a barrier??


  1. Mind and soul are 2 separate entities in our body.
    No branch of science has any clue what and where these are in our body.
  2. Heaven and Hell are located somewhere in Universe.
    Science has no evidence; but have experimentally found out everything – galaxies, stars etc, are moving away from us. Are Heaven and Hell also moving away from us?
  3. My destiny is fixed by date and time of my birth and traits by my Zodiac sign.
    Where and in what form/ language (there are many in our world!) the destiny has been written and what makes it fixed when everything is in dynamic state in Universe!
  4. I can do my best; but if I do not get results, it is my bad luck!
    You believe that you are doing your best; but it is actually not! Reality is if you do really best, you just cannot fail!
  5. God is everywhere!
    Then, why we keep seeking Him at specific places and keep fracturing above very belief?


  1. Suspicious in nature and hence your 1st reaction or response is to doubt.
    On leadership platform, you boast the relevance of trust!
  2. Negativism and pessimism – 1st thoughts always around possibility of failure and what is if things go wrong.
    And you believe leading by example and motivating your team?
  3. Highlight virtues and hide vices!
    But, preach honesty and transparency to employees/public?
  4. Pick on what is not done or not there, instead of praising what is done or appreciate what is there.
    But, lose no time to boast of being broad-minded and request people to be rational and reasonable!
  5. Throw towel in the face of difficulties!
    And advocate managerial courage and conviction to win?

Towards the End

One can, now, understand how your own Notions, Perceptions and Traits not merely create barriers; actually can block and choke your way forward.

Puzzling paradox is that as long as you hang around with your N-P-Ts, there no way for you to realize that there is something wrong and needs to change!

So, how to figure out what is right or wrong, real or unreal of your N-P-Ts, please wait for my next Post.

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Nothing can be as rewarding as Managing Conflicts!

You are getting late to leave home for an urgent appointment and get a call from your close friend in distress.

Your team member has a serious difference of opinion with you on how to solve some problems in a project in hands.

Due to eroding bottom line, company management has declared lower than expected annual salary raise and therefore, many key employees are exiting for better offers from competitors.

You have received an emergency call from spouse, while your boss and colleagues are waiting for you to start an urgent meeting.

Your new responsibilities have made you busier than before; while your family needs more time from you at home.

So, conflicts cripple people. More you dislike, more would these show up like part of your routine life. One of the most rampant across globe is conflict in managing time. These are the drain on your time and energy. This is the age, when most people live on edge! Conflicts can further drive you crazy!!

You can receive lot of advice, guidance and coaching how to manage conflicts from published material, models and programs. Do these indeed help? I find these very mechanical and focus on ways to deal with conflicts after having occurred and pain started. Therefore, most get bugged and bogged down by conflicts and resulting confusion.

Why conflicts?

Single most important information, you should know about conflicts is –
Conflicts, though irritating and at times highly intimidating, are inevitable, when you have 2 or more contradictory thoughts in self or you are involved with 1 or more persons and have differences or clash of –

  1. Attitude
  2. Ambitions
  3. Approach
  4. Agenda
  5. Beliefs or faiths
  6. Desires
  7. Ego
  8. Goals or objectives
  9. Intentions
  10. Interests
  11. Priorities
  12. Requirements

Conflicts are of 2 types – Internal to you and external with other people. But, to tell you the real truth – it is your internal conflicts, which drag you into external conflicts! I am not sure whether Leaders, CEOs, Management Gurus, Coaches, Professionals or Individuals are aware of this fact!

If you can resolve your internal conflicts, majority of external conflicts would evaporate!!

Golden rules to resolve your internal conflicts

Internal conflicts are nothing but conflicts of thoughts (COT), arising from 1 or more of above 12 attributes in contradiction. Normally, you would have multiple thoughts in your mind; but please be aware that there is one which is latest or current and rests are linked to your past memories. Conflict is always between the Current and Rests from Past!!!

  1. Identify by practice, which is your current thought and which are from past memories. Those associated with your emotions, ego or biases are definitely the ones from past.
  2. Treat the thoughts from past memories only as your knowledge or information.
    You would experience the magic of conflict ceasing to exist and you would be driven to a correct response to your current thought!
  3. Develop sense of right or wrong from the results of your doings.
  4. Hard notions would always hurt and harm you; not easy but make efforts to dilute or discard.
  5. Your best strength is flexibility and that comes from your soft notions and nature.
  6. Avoid obsession with any particular person or a thing; obsession invites destruction.
  7. Set doable goals or objectives for what you want to be. Drive relentlessly and continuously towards these. It would give tremendous pleasure and purpose.

If you follow above, you would surely turn to be Self-assured, Suave and Sober individual! And if you can make peace with yourself, you would make peace with anyone else!!

Golden prescription for prevention of external conflicts

  1. Be a good listener. When you listen to others, they would listen to you.
    Rules 4 and 5 above would make you a good listener in any case.
  2. Respect and appreciate others, to be respected and appreciated by them.
    Your power, popularity or pressure instead to command or order respect or appreciation would not survive for long.
  3. On every occasion, set expectations of the people you have to deal with (whether senior or junior or peer), at right and realistic levels.
  4. Set clear guidelines and directions for work or activity.
    Often people leave it open and this is one good reason why chaos is created.
  5. Lay down simple and easy to understand rules for given activities to be performed by an individual or group.
  6. Winning an argument is not worth; seeking solution is!
  7. Drive common vision and goals, and inspire people to accomplish through collective wisdom and efforts, while forgetting individual identities.
  8. Communicate and interact with people to understand their pulse and problems, to avoid surprises and provide solutions.

Click to continue ….. Beauty beneath Managing Conflicts


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